KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S.-led coalition and Afghan troops clashed with suspected Taliban militants in the volatile south and called in an airstrike that left four militants dead, the coalition said Tuesday.
As Taliban fighters began to flee, coalition aircraft engaged and killed four Taliban fighters who were attempting to escape,” the coalition said about the airstrike Monday on a compound used by militants in the Sangin district of Helmand province.
In neighboring Kandahar on Tuesday, Taliban militants clashed with border police, leaving two militants dead and one officer wounded, said border police Gen. Abdul Raziq.
Suspected Taliban militants, meanwhile, ambushed an Afghan army convoy with rocket propelled grenades in southern Zabul province, killing two soldiers and wounding up to 14, officials said.
The troops were attacked Monday as they were traveling on the main Kabul-Kandahar highway, said Mohammad Omar, an official with the Afghan National Army.
Afghan army regional commander Gen. Rehmatullah Raufi said Tuesday that two soldiers were killed and four wounded in the attack. The officials’ differing figures could not immediately be reconciled.
The latest violence came days after NATO and Afghan troops retook Sangin district as part of NATO’s largest-ever offensive in Afghanistan, Operation Achilles, launched last month to flush out Taliban militants from the northern tip of opium-producing Helmand province.
Raufi said several clashes with the Taliban over the past two weeks in Sangin have left 20 Taliban dead, including a regional commander. That number did not include the four killed in Tuesday’s airstrike. There have been no casualties in the Afghan army, he said.